In a nod to mobility's influence on enterprise IT, Microsoft is beefing up the mobile collaboration experience on its next version of SharePoint Server.
The software giant today announced the release of the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview, which includes new features aimed at the mobile enterprise. Among them are new mobile and touch enhancements, Bill Baer, senior technical product manager for Microsoft's SharePoint team, wrote in a company blog post.
"In addition to a consistent cross-screen experience, SharePoint Server 2016 provides the latest technologies and standards for mobile push and information synchronization," he wrote. "With deep investment in HTML5, SharePoint Server 2016 provides IT professionals and designers with capabilities that enable device-specific targeting of content. This helps ensure that users have access to the information they need, regardless of the screen they choose to access it on."
Acknowledging that today's workforces interact with a variety of screens, Baer said the new software can empower them "by delivering a consistent experience across screens, whether using a browser on the desktop, a mobile device, tablet or slate." Similar to how Microsoft is endeavoring to close the technical gaps between Office's mobile, PC and Web clients, "users can easily transition from one client to another without having to sacrifice feature fidelity," he added.
As additional evidence of mobile's influence on enterprise IT, SharePoint Server 2016 will include an integrated App launcher. The new feature "provides a new navigation experience where all your apps are easily available from the top navigation bar," stated Baer. "You can quickly launch your application, browse sites and access your personal files."
Content sharing has been streamlined for the new release. "Just click the Share button at the top right corner of every page, enter the names of people you want to share with, and press Enter," Baer instructed. Permission levels, group and other concepts used to manage and restrict the flow of content are still part of the experience, he assured.
SharePoint Server 2016 will also include new compliance tools, enabling organizations to better manage sensitive information. These consist of "In-Place Hold Policy and Document Deletion Centers, which allow you to manage time-based, organization-wide in-place hold policies to preserve items in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business for a fixed period of time, in addition to managing policies that can delete documents after a specified period of time," Baer revealed.
Other new features include large file support for uploads of up to 10 gigabytes (GB) and streamlined provisioning and management workflows. "Tasks that may have taken hours to complete in the past have become simple and efficient processes that allow IT to focus less on day-to-day management and more on innovation," said Baer.
Also today, the company announced that current SharePoint Server 2013 customers can implement cloud hybrid search, one of the upcoming version's hallmark features. The capability "allows customers using SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 to retrieve unified search results through a combined search index in Office 365," said Baer. In addition, cloud hybrid search can help organizations add their SharePoint content to the Delve automated content discovery app, he said.